For your consideration: a $500,000 ring mounted with a tanned sliver of hairy human skin. The piece, titled the Forget Me Knot ring, is the creation of boundary-pushing Icelandic fashion and jewelry designer Sruli Recht. For these one-of-a-kind works of art, Recht had a 110 by 10 millimeter a strip of his skin surgically removed from his abdomen; the artist then salted it, tanned it, and embedded it on a gold ring.
The work, though grisly, carries with it a raw sexual potency. Its title refers, of course, to marriage, or “tying the knot;” in this way, the piece is unabashedly intimate, tying literal bodily fleshiness with the idea of love and intimacy. The ring’s beauty lies in its refusal to be pretty; its hairy, gray, and it’s gruesome physicality operates as a strangely comforting promise that two people might become “one flesh.”
The medicinal and scientific references of the rings strangely reinforce this idea of devotion. Complicating the relationship between jeweler and client, the ring comes with a certificate of authenticity, providing DNA validation that the slash is in fact the artist’s, and a DVD graphically documenting the making of the ring, including the surgical removal of flesh. With these items, Recht creates a personal catalog of both his molecular and artistic existence, offering himself to a potential wearer in uncomfortable yet touching ways.
Recht’s other rings, composed of rare black diamonds and other precious stones, remain authentic to his gritty, viscerally demanding aesthetic. Take a look, and let us know what you think! (via Oddity Central)
Imagine a ring encrusted with finely sterilized teeth—or chunks of imported hair— and you have the work of jewelry designer Polly van der Glas. To the artist, these works of wearable art aim to address notions of beauty; as part of the overall gestalt of the human form, hair and teeth are signifiers of vitality and virility, but when ripped from the gums or snipped from the scalp, they become morbid, reminding us of the fragility of youth, beauty, and the body.
Van der Glas’s pieces speak to the allure of all jewelry. The ring itself carries iconographic weight; the idea of the wedding engagement ring—and even a promise ring— pivots around its circular shape, which serves as a vaginal symbol as well as one of eternity. The magic of van der Glas’s work lies in this tension between the sensuality and permanence of precious metal jewelry and the morbidity and temporality evoked by the deconstruction of the body.
Somehow, though, the work is not entirely grotesque. The careful treatment perfectly rounded teeth is reminiscent of a child’s play with the tooth fairy fantasy; shining locks harken back to romance tales in which locks of hair are gifted as promises to forbidden lovers. In this way, the work is playful and young, but set within metallic frames and coated with dark metal, that innocence veers into a dangerous realm, reminiscent of violent helmeted warfare. As it turns from gentle to wicked, from everlasting to painfully mortal, each piece invites us to examine and grasp onto the most precious and poignant treasures of our own jewelry boxes. (via Oddity Central, Ecouterre, and Gold Delicatessen)
In deconstructing Barbie dolls and repurposing them as jewelry for “Plastic Bodies Series,” the designer Margaux Lange forces us to enter an uncomfortable space between disgust and worship of the iconic toy. Barbie, who has been a target of the last decades’ feminist debate, occupies an ambiguous role in the social and sexual development of girls; she exudes sexuality with her adult figure, but she also remains virginal, never revealing her nipples or genitalia.
Lange’s work powerfully evokes the girlhood tension between reverence and anger felt towards the doll and its conflicting representation of female eroticism. At its most practical, the art is a function of style; elevated to the status of precious jewels, Barbie’s eyes and breasts inspire nostalgia and desire. Yet the doll is so clearly dismembered, and therefore violently objectified, and her selfhood becomes reduced to a series of nearly identical body parts, arranged for your consumption.
Arguably, the most compelling of the works include Barbie’s male companion doll Ken. Although the dolls often serve as play actors for a child’s early exploration of sexual desire and experience, their plastic forms obscure and confuse concepts of intimacy. In isolating the dolls’ features, Lange is able to express more clearly-seen longings within the previously sterile dolls; they become fixated between metal filigrees, robbed of their eyes but permanently in contact with one another. In use, the relationship between the owner and the doll also reaches new levels of fetishistic fascination. In one pair of earrings, doll hands reach out to touch the curve of the human neck; a necklace allows a tiny pair of metal lungs, filled with the breath of Barbie and Ken, to lay atop the wearer’s own chest. Take a look. (via Margaux Lange and BUST)
Liesbet Bussche is doing some really creative, involved work in the street right now. I really like her “Urban Jewellery” campaign, which integrates over sized pieces of jewelry into public, urban space. Stone roadblocks become cufflinks. Pendants are placed upon chain barriers to create “necklaces”. The project exposes the city’s characteristics as highly individual, asserting that it is appropriate to accessorize public space in the same manner we would accessorize ourselves. It reminds us that urban areas have just as much personality as a living, breathing entity. (via)
Lorenzo Nanni uses silk and embroidery to create incredibly detailed sculptures of underwater creatures and various forms of botany. Lorenzo also creates prosthetic jewelry that also takes on the natural and organic forms of his sculptures.